How Lauren Roth's "relationship smarts" support her business success.
Lauren Roth is going places.
Not only does she have incredible artistic talent (previous clients include Nordstrom and Nautica), business smarts (in June she launched a collaboration with global retailer LeSportsac) she has what my mom calls "relationship smarts."
We all know the saying "Behind every great man is a great woman." What is equally true in 2018 is "Behind every great woman is a great man."
At a young age, she was able to identify a partner who would be supportive, believe in her and her dreams, and, one of my favorite traits – be an awesome cleaner!
For me success is, being able to pursue your passion, live your best life and sustain healthy relationships with your loved ones.
Lauren is a role model of my definition of success.
What do you think is your life’s purpose and why?
I want to live life to the fullest, be with loved ones, be kind, do good, and create. What I enjoy the most about my art is getting to meet so many different people. I love seeing people connect with my art in a way that makes them happy, which then hopefully spreads joy throughout their life too. My purpose is to spread happiness through my art.
What gave you the courage and confidence to start your business?
Art and creativity are something that I was fortunately born with, it has always been a part of me, and a part of my life. I went to school for Illustration, after college I was hired as an Artist for a national retail chain. Although I had a steady full-time job, I was pursuing freelance jobs and gallery exhibitions gradually on the side. In 2013, I was chosen to be the lead designer for Hawaii Fashion Month. This was a huge job, that I wanted to devote all my time and creativity to. It was the exact moment I knew it was time to go all in. I decided to take the leap and leave my full-time job.
My boyfriend at the time, who is now my husband, was beyond supportive. He gave me the courage and confidence to take this big step. He was all for it. Once I had 100% of my time dedicated to my art, things really started to roll. I started hand painting hats and bags, which eventually turned into creating printed textiles and an entire product line. My husband was there for all my events, Night Markets and Art Festivals, lending a hand and helping keep my confidence and work drive alive.
This fall we are opening our very first brick and mortar store in Kailua at 131 Hekili Street Suite 105 and expanding into home décor and apparel. This will be a whole new avenue to navigate and experience together. It has really been a very natural and organic progression over the years to get me where I am today. Now my art has become our business.
Family, friends, fellow artists, customers and repeat customers, gallery and boutique owners, magazines, clients and repeat clients, really everyone that you are surrounded by, helps to keep up your courage and confidence. Anyone who has taken the time to stop and talk to me at a show, visited my website, or interacted with my social media, has made a difference.
Each little thing is so important to someone pursuing their passion. And people like you Ashley. You own an incredibly inspiring business, but still take the time to share other people’s stories. Networking and being a part of a the Hawaii community is such a special experience that I will be forever grateful for.
Deciding to leave your job to become a full-time artist is a big deal. What conversations did you have with your husband, boyfriend at the time, to come to that agreement?
Jon (Lauren’s husband) was always on board with it. It was almost harder for me to do, as he was all about it. Jon was very supportive, and he saw me working myself to death and didn’t want me to continue to struggle.
When Jon and I first met in New Jersey our relationship happened so quick. We met in September and we moved to Hawaii together that December. It was a whirlwind, but it had just felt right. Family wise everyone was in a little bit of shock when I told them "I met someone and I’m moving to Hawaii!" But that move turned out to be a wonderful thing for our relationship and life. We had a strong connection from the beginning but when it was just the two of us here in Hawaii alone, then we got to know each other really well.
He’s a good person, caring, supportive, devoted and a true partner. We are both still very much our own people. He has things he likes, and I have things I like but that move together has really bonded us.
What is a daily/weekly/or monthly routine you do to manage stress and provide yourself with self-care?
Lately I have really been slacking in this area, and I can feel the toll it is taking on me, so I cannot stress the importance of this enough (even though it makes me a bit of a hypocrite)! When I am going through a period where I just don't have the time then unfortunately self-care is the first thing to get cut out, and that is something I am really trying to change.
Ideally, I like to go to the gym every morning, usually for a 45-minute class. It's the best way to start the work day, feeling strong and with a clear mind, plus it's a fun little social gathering too. I’ve made great friends from going to the same classes over and over. If I sign up for a class in the evening I usually don’t make it. Everything is so much better done in the morning. I can be sure it gets done.
Working alone from home can sometimes turn me into a hermit. Taking time to call, connect and spend time with friends and family can really work miracles. I always feel so refreshed, grateful and thankful for those connections.
Lastly, but most important, I also love being outside, hiking, being at the beach, even just sitting out in my courtyard for a few minutes with plants and getting fresh air. Feeling the warm sun and Hawaii breeze helps me to be present in the moment and feel gratitude.
The 2018 household is a new territory. How do you balance with Jon grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning chores?
It’s really both of us as a partnership. There are definitely things I don’t enjoy doing and there are times when I’m doing more, or Jon is doing more. But we don’t have a “you do this, and you do that system." It’s really who has the time and working together on things. I don’t stick to an expectation like Jon’s job is to take out the trash and then I’m never going to take out the trash. We both help with everything.
For example, we will do the deep cleaning of the house together, and the smaller daily and weekly tasks are up to whoever can get to them. Having a house, a dog, a business and a social life creates a never-ending list of things to be done.
Thankfully Jon is a very neat person! He doesn’t like a mess and he would never leave dishes in the sink. It helps that cleanliness is a priority for him. I have the tendency to spread my work and things all over the house, stack the dishes in the sink to clean at the end of the day and things like that. Jon’s parents both worked full time so they both shared in the household chores too. My mom did more of the cooking, but my dad was very involved in the household as they both worked full time as well. We both had role models to watch who were balancing the household together as a team.
What decision process or routines do you have to help you balance work demands with a healthy marriage?
I love to get up early and start the day over coffee and breakfast with my husband, that never changes. Every day is so different but the time together in the morning is consistent. We do dinner together but sometimes I’m working late or Jon plays a lot of sports at night so it’s not as focused or consistent. The mornings are our focused time together.
When there is such a large workload, and you work from home, it is very hard to separate home and work. I can work all day every day, because there is so much to do, and it is right there. My husband and I constantly work at having a healthy relationship, and we spend time together every day. But when there is a lot of work to do, we fall into a routine and don't always take the time to step out of the house, go on a date, hop in the ocean. . .
Thankfully, we are both aware of that, and both try to suggest things to do together if it feels like it’s been a while. It helps when the days are getting longer, we are able to go for bike rides down to the beach later in the day, and still enjoy some sunshine together.
Jon’s also pretty vocal about telling me if I am working too much and if it seems to be taking a mental toll on me. It's good for me to have someone reminding me of the balance.
Now that Jon is working full time with me, as we prepare to open a store, he is taking over the business end of things. This has given me more time to work on the creative end and it has helped open some time.
We have a great group of friends that we spend a lot of time with, but we both also have separate friends and separate hobbies that we do without each other. It is important to also have things that are for yourself, but that we still support each other in doing.
Tell me about a time in your business where you learned from a mistake you made and moved forward?
I don’t have a formal business education, so I have learned business from doing it. I have definitely made mistakes but have been able to grow and better myself from them. For example, I created a design for a client and we had a verbal agreement on what it could be used for. Then it was later printed on multiple products I had not intended it for. I learned from that, that I needed to be clearer and have set contracts signed beforehand.
Another example is I have been open and shared my process or where I have products made, only to later see them being copied. I have learned from that to still help people when they are reaching out for guidance, but not to be so open on the things that have taken me years to figure out and build up.
My business is also completely intertwined with me personally. It is my art and a part of me, and sometimes it was hard to separate my emotions when things like that would happen. I hope that anyone who is working for themselves can also see mistakes as a tool to grow and not as a failure. It took me a long time to figure that one out, but it is so important.
I am pretty shy, and I’ve had to come out of my shell a lot in doing this business. I’ve been able to have more confidence and not be afraid to be clear on things. I’ve learned how to represent myself better and decide my worth.
What are your favorite pair of Mohala sunglasses and how would you style them?
The Lana in Fireside Tortoise. I like how these are a bit smaller, with a thinner frame. They are classic, chic and fashionable all at once! I would wear them with everything, from hanging at the beach, to going out in the evening. I would wear them with jean shorts, a tee and one of my fanny packs to the Kailua Farmers Market or on a beach walk.
Shop Lauren's gorgeous tropical designs at www.mynameislauren.com